Aims: To examine the nature of the relationships between 10-17-year-old New Zealanders' responses to alcohol advertisements and their drinking behaviour and future drinking expectations, with consideration also being given to the role of positive and negative beliefs about drinking.
Design: Survey involving 500 face-to-face interviews, with selection based on random cluster sampling.
Setting: In respondents' homes in New Zealand's three largest urban areas.
Participants: Ten-17-year-old New Zealanders.
Measurements: Response to specific alcohol advertisements was measured by recalled exposure (how often they recalled having seen the advertisements) and liking (a measure of positive response).
Findings: An exploratory structural equation model provided tentative support for the theory-based hypothesis that positive responses to beer advertisements increased the frequency of current drinking and expected future drinking, among this age group. There was no evidence for the hypothesized reciprocal effects; the frequency of drinking (including non-drinking) did not significantly affect the respondent's liking of beer advertisements. There was also no support for a hypothesis that linking of the beer advertisements was a product of a general liking for alcohol. Many of the young people themselves felt that alcohol advertising encouraged teenagers to drink. This was especially the case among 10-13-year-old males, who were the most likely to accept the portrayals in alcohol advertising as realistic.
Conclusions: Although there are limitations on the confidence with which conclusions can be drawn, the findings are consistent with qualitative and quantitative research and different theoretical perspectives on advertising processes which suggest alcohol advertising is likely to have some influence on young people.